Yves Lampaert wins the water fight at the start

The Belgian Yves Lampaert surprisingly raced into the first yellow jersey of the 109th Tour de France in the water fight in Copenhagen, defending champion Tadej Pogacar landed a point victory right at the start.

In Lampaert’s triumph in a spectacular time trial, Slovenia’s dominator finished third, taking the opening seconds from his closest rivals. In the pouring rain, German champion Lennard Kämna also impressed with 19th place.

“It’s unbelievable, I can’t understand it. The very best race here and I’m ahead,” said 31-year-old Quick-Step professional Lampaert after competing in front of hundreds of thousands on the 13.2 km course in Denmark’s capital fans in 15:17.76 minutes in front of compatriot Wout van Aert (+4.55 seconds) and Pogacar (+7.03) – it was his first victory in a major national tour.

Time trial world champion Filippo Ganna (Italy/Ineos Grenadiers) was fourth (+10.02).

Tadej Pogacar avoids the risk

Lampaert probably only borrowed the yellow jersey from Pogacar. “You don’t say no to yellow. If there’s a chance, I’ll get it,” Pogacar clarified before the opening showdown.

The 23-year-old tour winner of 2020 and 2021 did not take the very last risk in treacherous conditions on mirror-smooth asphalt.

But it was enough to get ahead of the worst rivals: He took compatriot Primoz Roglic (8th) as well as the Danish second-placed Jonas Vingegaard (7th) eight, the Briton Geraint Thomas (17th) twelve, Bora captain Alexander Vlasov (21st) 31 seconds down. Four-time Tour champion Chris Froome experienced a disaster with 1:13 and France’s favorite Thibaut Pinot with 1:18 minutes behind Pogacar.

Lennard Kämna drives “relatively carefully”

The German professionals were mainly spared from falls. “I drove relatively cautiously at first and must have left something behind, but I can be satisfied,” said Bora professional Kämna, who was 25 seconds behind Lampaert.

Overall, Kämna’s teammate Max Schachmann, who finished blind flying in 27th place, was also satisfied. “I shouldn’t have driven without a visor, that wasn’t wise,” said the Berliner: “Nothing was gained, but nothing was lost either.” Cofidis professional Max Walscheid came in 30th place. “The atmosphere was overwhelming, it was a lot of fun,” said the 1.99 m tall giant on “ARD”.

For the first time, a Tour of France started in cycling-mad Denmark, and for the first time since 2017 it began with a time trial. At that time, too, it was pouring rain in Düsseldorf, which resulted in a number of falls, some of which were serious.

Many falls at the beginning of the time trial

As announced, heavy rain set in shortly before the start of the race, which, according to the forecast, should intensify as the race progressed.

The top favorites for overall victory had therefore opted for quite early starting places. That wasn’t an advantage: it got better towards the middle of the race. Especially in the early phase, however, there were falls.

The Swiss favorite of the day, Stefan Bissegger, was hit twice. Frenchman Christophe Laporte, for whom the best split time was noted up to the end of the race, also went down.

Mathieu van der Poel set the first real mark at the finish. The Dutch grandson of the great Raymond Poulidor, who was in yellow for six days in 2021, was only replaced by van Aert after almost an hour in the “Leaders Box” – before Lampaert duped the favorites in better conditions.

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